News Release Archive

SPEECH FROM THE THRONE-Sixth Session of the 56th General Assembly
Following is the complete text of the Speech From the Throne read
today, Nov. 20, 1997, by Lt.-Gov. James Kinley at the opening of
the sixth session of the 56th General Assembly of the Province of
Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly.

Ladies and gentlemen. Friends and, above all else, Nova Scotians.

I am pleased to open the sixth session of the 56th General
Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia's soul is its caring people and caring communities.
We wish to pay tribute to Nova Scotians whose actions lie at the
heart of what makes this province such a great place to live. 

Heather Grant, a 16-year-old Yarmouth resident, watched her uncle
die of AIDS and then organized a march in her local community
raising money for AIDS education.

The Cape Breton relatives of Jessica Whitney rallied together in
an effort to save the nine-year-old's life. Their work resulted
in more than 400 people from across the island becoming members
of the national Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

Melissa Labrador, a Queens County youth, reminded Canadians of
the importance of inclusion and reverence for traditional native
symbols when she brought an eagle feather to the federal House of
Commons. She was recently appointed to Nova Scotia Youth Advisory
Council along with 11 other young Nova Scotians.

In Dartmouth, thousands of volunteers and other citizens came
together in August to welcome 700 people from 46 countries to the
world canoe championships. Visitors returned home with lasting
memories of Nova Scotian enthusiasm and warmth. 

George Richardson of Halifax was honoured this year for saving
the lives of two young sisters whose Halloween costumes had
caught on fire. 

These are only a few Nova Scotians who have made a difference.
They remind us that it is our character, our care and compassion
that make Nova Scotia the most wonderful place in the world to
live. On behalf of my government and all Nova Scotia, I wish to
thank them.

A New Direction

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming you to the first session
of this legislature with a new premier. 

We are setting new directions for this province and for our
future --directions that are based on the priorities of the
people and on the challenges that must be met to secure our

My government will measure progress in terms of healthy families,
strong local economies, fairness for all Nova Scotians, and
vibrant communities. My government will strive to bring
stability, security, and a sense of pride and accomplishment to
every aspect of our lives.

My government will uphold the values of the people of this
province that set us apart as a kind and caring community. We
will work hard to:

-give Nova Scotians, particularly young people, the tools they
need to succeed

-attract investment and new jobs to all regions of this province

-strengthen communities so that they remain safe and vital places
to work, live, and raise a family

-support children and families

-celebrate our heritage and diversity and support that which
makes us unique.

It is government's role to instill pride and build a sense of
optimism among Nova Scotians. We have untapped natural resources.
We have new opportunities in emerging industry. We have the best
educated generation of young people in our history.  

My government owes Nova Scotians leadership that listens to and
respects the wishes of the people. My government will show
leadership by focusing our efforts on key priorities. Those
priorities are:

-a strong economy that advances all regions of our province

-an enhanced emphasis on health to strengthen our systems of care
and build a more secure society

-a vigorous focus on jobs and education, which are vitally linked
and key to our future.

Securing Our Economic Foundation

At the top of the Nova Scotian priority list are local jobs and
strong local economies. Our foremost challenge as a government is
to ensure that no region of this province is left behind by the
prosperity that can be ours as we enter the 21st century.

We are poised for growth. 

Capital investment in Nova Scotia will grow by 18 per cent this
year, well ahead of the national average and most G7 countries.

Companies like Scotiabank and CIBC have demonstrated their faith
in Nova Scotia. Call centres alone are now generating some $70
million in new income for Nova Scotians.

We see tremendous economic performance in industries that reach
out, outside urban centres and into the heartland of this
province, into our fishing villages, farms, and rural

Multi-nationals, including IKEA, Michelin, and Stora, have chosen
rural Nova Scotian communities as places to expand or establish
new facilities.

The film industry provides jobs in coastal towns from Louisbourg
to Shelburne. This new business has expanded dramatically--600
per cent since 1993 and 50 per cent in the last year alone. The
provincial tax incentive that fuelled this growth is now being
copied in New Brunswick and Quebec.

The world has already discovered what Nova Scotians have always
known. Musicians like the Barra MacNeils from Sydney Mines, the
Rankin family from Mabou, and Natalie MacMaster from Inverness
County prove we make the best music anywhere. The celebration of
uniquely Nova Scotian music, with its roots in Celtic, Acadian,
and Mi'kmaq cultures, helped build a record year for tourism.
This year Nova Scotia's tourism industry grew by 6 per cent, the
fastest growth rate in 25 years. 

Nova Scotia remains Canada's leader in quantity and value of fish
landings. Fish and value-added seafood remain our number one
export. Nova Scotians recognized early, and have since proven,
that value-added and new markets are key to survival, growth, and
prosperity in this, our most traditional industry.  

Our universities are selling expertise in places like Kuwait and
St. Kitts. They're adding a surprising new dimension to Nova
Scotia's strong export growth--$110 million in new sales over the
past year, and 1,100 jobs for Nova Scotians. 

Look at what lies ahead.

Exploration and development of the seabed surrounding Sable
Island will bring a whole new energy source to Nova Scotia.
Industry leaders are investing $3 billion private-sector dollars
in an underwater "highway" and overland connectors to bring the
wealth ashore. The six wells targeted for initial development
represent only one-sixth of the known reserve. This project is
only the beginning. 

My government will work diligently in the development of this new
resource and will ensure economic benefits stay in Nova Scotia.

My government will soon be announcing specific training funds and
programs to prepare workers for employment in the natural gas

Opportunities are here, in the offshore and in other emerging and
traditional industries. They must be met by a government with the
foresight and leadership to seize the advantage for Nova Scotia.

My government has adopted a forceful position with respect to new
industries looking to set up in this province. There must be
strong financial commitment to targeted training packages that
will guarantee highly skilled and job-ready workers. We will
ensure that Nova Scotians fill these new jobs.

My government is currently negotiating with 20 to 30 companies
seeking to locate in Nova Scotia. We will ensure that training
components are built into the deals we make with new employers. 

We will build a Nova Scotia training advantage, partnering with
the private sector and with educational institutions, such as the
community college, to ensure training matches local workers to

We will protect the thousands of jobs that depend on a secure
forestry by amending legislation to ensure that harvesting does
not exceed the capacity to grow timber and that reforestation,
environmental protection, and wildlife-habitat conservation are
practised on Crown and private woodlands. 

My government will maintain a strong commitment to silviculture
on private woodlots: $4 million will be budgeted in the next
fiscal year. We will encourage a similar commitment from the
forest industry to safeguard this resource for the next
generation and beyond.

My government will review land use policies and farm land
taxation and, in consultation with agricultural groups, will
develop new policies to better support the agricultural sector.
New wealth will flow to Nova Scotia when we add value to the
goods we produce and sell our goods and services in new markets
worldwide. Rather than export raw materials for processing and
manufacturing, we will attract investment here. The jobs
associated with turning Nova Scotia's resources into finished
products will be Nova Scotian jobs. A new investment incentives
policy will help in this effort. 

My government will soon be announcing new call centres throughout
Nova Scotia. We are in discussions with companies seeking to
locate in communities from Digby County to Cape Breton.

My government will remove obstacles and artificial barriers to
business. My government will be introducing legislation to cut
red tape and allow industry to get on with creating new jobs.

Over the coming year, we will formalize our partnership with the
tourist industry to expand and improve tourism products. A new
increased effort will be made to attract visitors from Quebec and

We will continue to celebrate Nova Scotia's music through
festivals and tourism, and by integrating our music with our
trade and investment efforts, to expand the music industry
throughout the province. 

The new Nova Scotia Tax Equity Credit will promote community
investment in Nova Scotia. We will move forward with this program
so that Nova Scotians can invest in the business "down the road"
and support local jobs.

We will build on our industrial heritage. My government believes
there is a future for steel and coal. We will form an industrial
commission and ask the federal government to participate with us
in developing a common approach to industrial development, a
common strategy reflecting our responsibilities for steel and the
federal role in coal.

My government is working to ensure a viable future for Sydney
Steel, a future with a private-sector company with the financial
backing and the long-term plan to secure jobs and reach new

Transportation is vital to our economic future. Communities know
there is a direct link between infrastructure and attracting
investment and jobs. We must have a better partnership with the
federal government that recognizes the importance transportation
links play in strengthening communities across Nova Scotia.   

The federal government must recognize and meet obligations to
upgrade facilities as we proceed with the privatization of
Halifax International Airport, one of the fastest-growing
airports in Canada.

My government will aggressively seek a fair deal on marine
navigation fees. 

Roads are important when you move raw materials to the
manufacturing plant and finished products to the market. We will
commit new funds for secondary roads in this fiscal year and
increased dollars yet again in the next.

Federal facilities, such as the former Cornwallis military base,
are becoming generators of employment and economic activity. We
will soon be announcing plans for CFB Shearwater, which is
ideally located to participate in a boom in shipping and
state-of-the-art port development. 

Building a Healthy Nova Scotia
A stable and well-performing economy is the foundation of our
collective security. A well-funded, first-class system of health
care is the cornerstone of personal well-being.  

Medical professionals are here. Hospitals are accessible.
Emergency service is dependable, and medicines are affordable.

Our health care system is strong and will get stronger. We have
to do better to ensure all Nova Scotians are receiving the same
high level of service. Many important new initiatives have taken
place in the last year to ensure services are available when and
where Nova Scotians need them. A new agreement is in place to
secure physician services for Nova Scotia and to attract new
doctors to rural areas.

Modern medical facilities are important in our small towns and in
rural communities. A new regional hospital will be built in
Cumberland County along with new health care facilities in
Cheticamp and Neils Harbour. Yarmouth Hospital is undergoing
redevelopment. A cancer treatment centre is under construction at
the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. Home Care is helping 18,000
Nova Scotians each year.

The first and largest Telemedicine network in the world is
connecting doctors and patients in rural Nova Scotia with the
latest in diagnostics and specialist services.

We are proud of new initiatives to combat cancer, including
mobile screening clinics and a co-ordinated cancer care
initiative linking the Department of Health, academics and
hospitals where care is delivered. We will build on these

My government will fund more cancer care, train emergency
doctors, and fund critical care simulation and the St. John's
Ambulance Chain-of-Survival. 

The government has made real progress in emergency health care.
The emergency medical helicopter will soon be backed up by a
fixed-wing aircraft. 

We acknowledge that the health care funding equation needs to be

My government will strengthen health care funding. Additional
money in this fiscal year will total $100 million, and there will
be further increases in 1998-99.

The long-term care sector has made significant contributions to
the overall health and well-being of our population. The
ministers of Health and Community Services will be convening
almost immediately to begin efforts to ensure this sector gets
the attention it deserves. 

We recognize the anxiety that has been caused by health care

To ensure Nova Scotians are receiving the best services, my
government will be appointing a panel of health care
professionals and community leaders to evaluate the current
directions for health care and ensure that services and programs
are secure across Nova Scotia. The panel will report back to
government in the spring.

Strong, Vibrant Communities

Nova Scotia is a great province because of the strength of our
people and our communities.

Strong communities have key characteristics--they are safe and
healthy places for our families to live and grow.

That means safe streets and safe homes. Nova Scotia is leading
the country in taking a tough stand against family violence. We
have added victim-support services, trained more than 3,000
justice workers and adopted a pro-arrest, pro-prosecution policy. 

Nova Scotia has some of the toughest anti-drunk driving laws in
the country. My government will soon be coming forward with more
programs to combat drinking and driving.

My government is already taking a leadership role by supporting
community participation in matters involving young offenders.

My government will go forward with a Restorative Justice program,
which provides communities and victims with more satisfactory
justice by giving them a voice in sentencing and alternative

My government will, in partnership with the federal government,
concentrate on crime prevention. Law enforcement officers, social
workers, and community groups will recommend measures to reduce
crime. Their work will include both preventive measures and
recommendations for better enforcement. 

Still, there are people in our communities who need our help and
support. We will do more for children, especially during early
childhood, life's most critical stage. 

My government is working on a prevention framework and action
plan to direct and co-ordinate government services and services
delivered by other publicly funded bodies for children and youth
at risk.

A Community Partner's Program will promote children's development
programs. This collaborative effort will involve many players
such as the YMCA, health organizations, and food banks. There
will be new programs in child nutrition, early childhood language
development and screening for risk factors and support for
families who are overburdened.

The Healthy Start pilot project will focus on home visits and
practical support to parents and children at risk. It is modelled
after a program in Hawaii that has received international
acclaim. Overall, we will work with communities to strengthen
programs and services that prevent abuse and neglect.

We are committed to helping families. We will be deciding how
best to help low-income Nova Scotians with the National Child
Benefit --a new benefit that starts in July. 
A new Labour Market Development Strategy is creating new programs
involving training, loans and grants to clients of several
departments, including Economic Development and Tourism,
Community Services, and Education and Culture. In particular,
social assistance clients will benefit from meaningful employment
supports and experience.

The quality of community life depends upon the quality of our
environment. We have the good fortune to live in one of the most
beautiful, pristine places on earth. We are leading Canada in our
efforts in recycling. This year, we will be putting less garbage
in landfills --50 per cent less.
During this session, my government will introduce legislation to
ensure 31 areas of the province are protected today and for all
generations to come. 

In the spring, we will release a comprehensive state of the
environment report. We are committed to keeping our communities
clean, healthy, and beautiful for all Nova Scotians.

Better Opportunity Through Education
To secure our future we must provide our young people with
relevant skills, job-related training and on-the-job experience.
Federal and provincial governments are working on a Youth
Employment Strategy which will provide access to employment and
on-the-job training for 16-to 29-year-old Nova Scotians. First
ministers have made this a top priority. In addition my
government will:

-develop a made-in-Nova-Scotia youth employment strategy. The
government will be highlighting and supporting three key areas:
education, work experience and information. 

-provide an internship program within the civil service for
students and young graduates seeking employment. My government is
taking a leadership role to ensure young Nova Scotians gain that
initial job experience so important to launching a successful

-commit funds through a winter works program to assist young
people who are most at risk of not finding meaningful employment.
Young Nova Scotians living in rural areas in particular will
benefit from this program.

-connect education to the job market. In partnership with local
businesses and schools, my government will soon announce
co-operative education and school-to-work transition programs in
our high schools.  

A strong vibrant future is before us. The future depends on an
education system that supports Nova Scotia's students and its

We're committed to reducing large class sizes. Studies
demonstrate that smaller class size leads to enhanced
teacher-pupil interaction and improved student performance. 

Dozens of proposals have been received from schools eager to
participate in a new program of leadership support and networking
in junior high schools. The co-operating schools will be
announced soon and will benefit from such initiatives as "team
teaching." The aim is to give more teacher attention and adult
support to young people during a critical time in their lives.

Our schools must be safe, healthy places to learn. My government
will meet the needs for safe, positive school environments.
Schools will have access and input into programs in peer
mediation, zero tolerance for violence, conflict resolution,
prevention of substance abuse, and support groups for both
students and parents.

My government will be working with school boards in developing a
"healthy schools" program. We will be assisting our education
partners in examining air quality standards, air quality testing,
and maintenance.

My government is moving forward with new curriculum that reflects
black culture and scholarships for African Nova Scotian students.
Working with the Afrocentric Learning Institute we will be
increasing the number of black teachers.

We will be launching a Grade 7 Mi'kmaq language course and a
Grade 10 Mi'kmaq studies course. All schools across our province
will have access to these new materials.

Recently Maclean's magazine lauded our education system by
designating two Nova Scotia universities, Acadia and St. Francis
Xavier, as second and fourth in undergraduate excellence in a
nationwide survey.  

My government will work with the Nova Scotia Council on Higher
Education to address funding levels for the next four years and
distribute funds appropriately among universities.

My government recognizes the crisis in tuition fees at
post-secondary institutions. Nova Scotia already has a program of
debt forgiveness that will be reviewed for further flexibility
and at the same time, we will urge the federal government to
adopt a similar program.

Increased funding for health and education depends on a strong
economy and on government's ability to manage taxpayers' dollars
wisely. My government remains committed to prudent fiscal
management and will commit new funds to our priority areas: a
strong economy, secure health care and education linked with

We recognize that some Nova Scotians, especially those with low
incomes and little discretionary spending, are disproportionately
affected by the Harmonized Sales Tax. My government is examining
ways to ease the tax burden on necessities.

All of the above programs, initiatives, and new funding
mechanisms characterize a government that reflects the priorities
of the people of this province. The public is well served by our
professional, non-partisan public service. We will renew the
public service by continuing to support new skills and management
development. We recognize the hard work and dedication of the
55,000 men and women who serve Nova Scotians well.

This is an exciting time in Nova Scotia's history. We stand on
the threshold of great opportunities. There is a renewed
confidence in Nova Scotia and among Nova Scotians. Our goods and
services are finding markets worldwide. Nova Scotia's reputation
for excellence is growing. Sable gas is an economic bonus, that
will result in new jobs and economic opportunity for Nova
Scotians and increased resources to fund vital public programs,
like health care and education.

Nova Scotians and those who view our province from afar, see
unlimited potential. My government sees all these opportunities
clearly, and is determined to seize them for the benefit of Nova
Scotians today and tomorrow.

In every community, my government will champion that which makes
this province great. The generosity of spirit, the determination,
the courage, the vision, and the wisdom of her people.

God Save the Queen.

God Bless Nova Scotia.

God Bless Canada.


ngr                  Nov. 20, 1997                2:00 p.m.